Patriot Act search warrants overwhelmingly used for drugs

201109071313 Unsurprising news: "Delayed-notice search warrants issued under the expanded powers of the Patriot Act, 2006–2009." (Via NYMag) 


  1. This comes as a shock to absolutely no one. Stopping terrorism actually takes work, cracking down on drug users to stock our prisons is much easier.

  2. BRAZILLLLLL, where hearts were entertaing twoooooo
    we stood beneath an amber moooooooon
    and softly whispered ‘someday soon’…

    1. Are you not a person? Otherwise you are also one of we people who are putting up with it. Why don’t you ask yourself that question?

    2. Patriot Act?  Wasn’t that like 9 seasons ago?  Kim Kardashian’s wedding is the new news!

  3. I didn’t see it in the article but are the “fraud” and “drugs” warrants related to terrorism? There are certainly WAY more warrants issued for drugs in this country so it isn’t as if every drug warrant is falling under the Patriot Act powers.

    Are the “drugs” sneak-and-peak warrants all related to terror financing through drug sales? Or are these warrants being used to search Johnny on the Streetcorner dealing weed? The article doesn’t make this clear.

    1. I didn’t see it in the article but are the “fraud” and “drugs” warrants related to terrorism?

      The DEA would sure like you to think so. They did a series of infamous anti-drug PSAs a few years back basically accusing anyone who bought an ounce of weed of supporting terrorism, because you never really know where the money goes in a drug deal. But as other people pointed out, the money our nation spends on foreign oil arguably channels a lot more cash to international terrorists than the money we spend on drugs.

  4. If money is speech, why can’t drugs be terror? 

    You radicals are just obsessed with words having fixed definitions.

  5. Patriot Act? Now that Obama has been elected, we’re not supposed to talk about that any more. Can we go back to blaming natural disasters on global warming?

  6. “If money is speech, why can’t drugs be terror?”

    Because free speech is already terror, as is free association, and free press. Where have you been?

    1. And I wonder how many of those were just entrapment.

      Two orders of magnitude, eh?  A benevolent dictatorship would be an ideal form of government, but you should always shoot any politician claiming to need dictatorial powers for benevolent ends.

  7. I can understand the cynicism in response to such a statistic. But this is really poisonous cynicism: folks have given up hope of an America that can ever return to its core values. There are a lot of reasons the Tea Party and small government conservatives drive me nuts, but one thing they got right: if the government is no longer responsive to the people, the most civil way to return the power to people is by defunding and shrinking the government. The long-term alternative is a violent overthrow.

    The trouble is, no one can agree on what parts to shrink, and the small government ideology is tied to so much other anti-intellectual baggage (creationism, climate denialism, lack of social conscience) that it just doesn’t work.

    1. A libertarian government-free utopia is not my idea of a ‘return to core values,’ whatever that talking point is supposed to mean. Waxing sentimental on the good old days doesn’t do anything for new and future issues. I’d rather see progression than regression.

  8. I used to work in a pharmacy, the tougher regulation of ephedrine was based on legislation in the patriot act.  Maybe because of that, busting methlabs or dealers produced these results?

  9. Violent overthrow. Anyone who thinks that’s possible has probably driven across the country and concluded it’s an arguable position. I’d be interested, honestly, to hear how it could be done.

    1. I’m inclined to agree. At this stage “writing your congressional representative” is probably no longer a viable option.

    2. You would do it with a false flag operation (you know, just like our government does). Basically, you need to obtain something like Soviet era artillery nukes, recruit unstable members from 2-3 fundamentalist organizations by posing as higher ranking members, get them fired up, hand them the weapons, and send them to 6 major US cities including DC.

  10. From Wikipedia entry on the PATRIOT Act:

    Section 213 (Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant) amended the US Code to allow the notification of search warrants[24] to be delayed.[25]
    This section has been commonly referred to as the “sneak and peek”
    section, a phrase originating from the FBI and not, as commonly
    believed, from opponents of the Patriot Act. The U.S. government may now
    legally search and seize property that constitutes evidence of a United
    States criminal offense without immediately telling the owner. The
    court may only order the delayed notification if they have reason to
    believe it would hurt an investigation — delayed notifications were
    already defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2705
    — or, if a search warrant specified that the subject of the warrant
    must be notified “within a reasonable period of its execution,” then it
    allows the court to extend the period before the notification is given,
    though the government must show “good cause”. If the search warrant
    prohibited the seizure of property or communications, then the search
    warrant could then be delayed.

    Fourth Amendment, we hardly knew ye.

  11. the police are out fleecing the public for its last bit of money, like a reversed robin hood, they rob the poor and give to the people who print money.  Too many good honest hard working american citizens have arrest warrants from BS trumped up charges, sold everything to pay their fines, or are already in jail.  The rest of the “middle class” is desperately hanging onto their homes.
     I assumed when the shipt hit the fan the police would be forced to focus on real crimes as they increased, but it seems the idea is to put out good little revenue whores and rape the public in lower class and medium class areas.  After never being pulled over my entire life I have been pulled over, searched without our consent and my barely dressed wife was fondled for keeping things in her bra like most women. (COMPLETE BS probable cause, Buck the 4th!), handcuffed 3 times, ticketed on 7 different occasions, etc.  All but 1 of those stops involved cocky, ego-driven, adrenaline junkie, escalation specialists.  They are seriously trying to break everyone, shake you down for money, or else make you a criminal.  If it hasnt touched you yet it will eventually, or your child, maybe then you will fully understand. 

    The patriot act gets much worse, this bs use of it is just the tip of the arse-berg that our titanic of a country is blindly flying towards.
    Remember all the fools spouting how Un-american and un-patriotic you were when you didnt support this pile of unpatriotic toilet paper???
     OF COURSE WE ALL KNEW THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, I said it, you said it, we shouted it til we were red in the face.  Now brace yourself for the real problems…….

  12. This just depresses me. As one of the people who deeply opposed this even when people accused me of “treason” for opposing this… I’m unsurprised.

  13. Remember when Obama was campaigning on decriminalizing medical marijuana? Here’s his AG’s take on this now:

    “Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, REGARDLESS OF STATE LAW. Consistent with resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution.”

    Of course, it’s mostly libertarians (Ron Paul) who are raising a fuss about this.

  14. I suppose on the bright side <2000 uses in 3 years is hardly often enough to qualify the US as an Orwellian Hell.

    It is rubbish they are using it for the fucking Drug War. Legalize it all – damn it!

    1. You know those 1400 uses are only one section of the patriot act concerning searches without notification.

    1. The War on Drugs, the War on Terror, the bottomless money pit of Empire, and the whole big clusterfuck of intertwinining self-inflicted problems won’t go away under any president red or blue. Not while campaigns are paid for in money made from this mess.

      1. Frank W,

        Have you seen data that shows that countries with publicly financed elections don’t prosecute drug usage? Or that it’s a necessary condition? 

        Or are you just making this up?

    2. Your comment was so detailed that you’ve convinced me.

      …but seriously. Don’t people know that comments like this (irrespective of target) are a great way of getting anyone with a brain to ignore the rest of what they have to say?

      Bush enacted it. Everyone sucked it down deep-throat style and said “thanks for making our country safer captain Bush”. Obama deserves vitriol for not revising the patriot act (a campaign promise), but just remember who put it there.

      It is also somewhat scary that I (an Australian) seem to be more well versed in the details of the patriot act than many of the Americans commenting here.

      1. Bush enacted it. Everyone sucked it down deep-throat style and said “thanks for making our country safer captain Bush”.

        No, they didn’t.

        Did you consider that you, as an Australian, don’t really have a good handle on the public discourse that took place at the time — I don’t know, perhaps you get a lot of your news from some big network or two owned by an Australian?

        Support for the Patriot act was actually quite thin, and everyone I spoke to about it (admittedly a small group compared to 300M) had grave misgivings about it.

        But don’t let that stop you from painting with such a broad brush…

        1. No, they didn’t.
          From Backyard’s link (thanks for reinforcing my point without realising it, BYF):
          The final bill, the USA PATRIOT Act was introduced into the House on October 23 … It was vehemently opposed by only one Senator, Russ Feingold, who was the only Senator to vote against the bill.

          Whether or not the populace sucked it down, your elected officials did a shit job of representing your (allegedly widespread, misgiving-laden) opinion. I still somewhat doubt your claim, esp. considering the above point made by blueelm: “As one of the people who deeply opposed this even when people accused me of “treason” for opposing this… I’m unsurprised.”

          I don’t know, perhaps you get a lot of your news from some big network or two owned by an Australian?

          But don’t let that stop you from painting with such a broad brush…

          You could stand to benefit from listening to your own advice. This may surprise you, but this thing called the internet that we’re all reading… it’s worldwide. I consume almost no media from Fairfax or Murdoch (who disposed of his Australian Citizenship to become one of you, I believe) because it is unreliable junk for fools who want simple answers. I’ve probably read more American newspapers online and watched more PBS newshour broadcasts than most Americans, and to be honest – I’d say its a lot easier to be objective when observing something from the outside as a disinterested party. There’s not as much at stake for me to win or lose.

          “Everyone” might have been a bad choice of words because not everyone in the population thought it was good – but when it comes to the people who were elected to vote on your behalf?? 99-1…. that seems like pretty much everyone to me.

          1. “Everyone” might have been a bad choice of words because not everyone in the population thought it was good – but when it comes to the people who were elected to vote on your behalf?? 99-1…. that seems like pretty much everyone to me.

            That’s the point: yes, it had wide support in Congress, but as I said the actual bill had little support amongst the people. For example, in 2004 the Pew Center polled folks and found that only 33% of those polled thought it was a necessary tool for combating terrorism, whereas 39% thought that it posed a threat to civil liberties.

            Forgive me if your somewhat idiosyncratic use of the term “everyone” to mean “congress” confused me a bit.

      2. teapot,

        You seem to believe in the Great Man Theory. Bad call. Look at the vote counts for the act: 

        One would have to be deranged to consider a vote of 98-1 to be Bush’s team ramming it down the senatorial throat..

        My anti-Obama message stands; in matters of war, civil liberties, and drug law enforcement (as well as shunting money to bankers) he’s Bush 44.

        1. My anti-Obama message standsWhat message? A tiny comment about the drug war and stats that includes no argument, reasoning or evidence… I’m pretty sure that’s called an opinion

          Furthermore, doesn’t your commentary re: Obama also fit with your Great Man Theory? You wouldn’t want to appear hypocritical. 

          PS: don’t be silly – I would never suggest that Bush is a great man.

  15. The point at which Americans got screwed was when they didn’t make a fuss about their rights being flushed down the toilet by Bush, probably because they feared the potential backlash of public ridicule because the new legislation contained the word “patriot”.

    I laughed so hard when I heard the words “Patriot Act”. I thought ‘how the hell can anyone fall for something named that?’ I hate to evoke Godwin here, but it kind of smacks of the Nazi death camps where the guards kindly handed out soap and ushered the prisoners in to have a nice, warm shower.

    “Look, I know we crammed you into trains, tore you away from your community, possessions and loved ones and then forced you into hard labour on little to no food… But now we decided to be nice… Trust us!”

  16. Mission Creep… If a power IS available to them, then it’s going to be used for whatever they can get away with… RIPA in the UK was lauded when introduced as it’ll only be used for counter-terrorism purposes, but it was worded such that just about any petty official could use it to spy on any member of the public… therefore we had town councils using it to spy on dog owners to track them back to their houses to prosecute them for their pets fouling the streets and also on people suspected of lying on school admission forms that they lived in a catchement area…

  17. Follow the money.
    Obama might have thought he had what it took to stand up to the Prison-Corporate-Health complex, but when he got into office he quietly realized he was wrong, wrong, wrong.  Not even your most crackpot libertarian cagefighter-turned-pageantqueen-turned-politician would be able to fight it.  Someone can still fight it though, someone/thing big, powerful and still trustworthy enough. 

    If only I could still post anonymously, I’d just spill it and save north american readers alot of needless worry.  Gotta love BB’s double-standard about berating G+ for being on the wrong side of nymwars, while simultaneously enforcing identity-consolidation technologies like DISQUST against its commentators.

    1. “while simultaneously enforcing identity-consolidation technologies”
      Dude… how is making an account on BB itself any different from before?

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